Photo courtesy Parmigiano-Reggiano

Hello! My name is Parmigiano Reggiano. Friends call me Mr. King! 

I’m a PDO cheese* born and raised in a specific area of the North of Italy thanks to a perfect terroir! You can read about me almost everywhere; even better, you can visit me in my homeland and watch my birth every day of the year. I’ll be happy to share with you my story, my life, and the passion of the cheesemakers who wake up early to make me every day

I know that you most often use me atop a steaming plate of pasta, and oh yes, that’s my favorite too. However, that’s just a start. I’m really versatile, as you will see in these few tips I have about how to share me throughout the day. 

For a light lunch, buy my young version, 12 months of ageing and shave me to top a scrumptious salad with olives, dried or fresh tomatoes, carrots, celery, and maybe avocados. You can compose the salad as you prefer, with the ingredients you like the most (or have in your fridge), and dress it with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar rather than wine vinegar. Remember to use less salt, because I’ve already got enough salinity. 

Zucchini Carpaccio
I taste delicious grated over Zucchini Carpaccio

Another classic idea is to shave me, 12 or 24 months, on a plate with bresaola or carpaccio, add some celery or rocket (arugula) to get a touch of crunch and freshness. Top it all with good quality extra virgin olive oil, which will bring all the flavors together. 

Add me to any savory cake, muffin, or flan to add flavor with less salt! Try grating me and mixing a bit with simple savory cakes, frittatas, or scrambled eggs, as well as meatballs—or even with your Thanksgiving turkey stuffing! If you like a strong taste, try my elder version, 30-36 months of ageing. Otherwise, 24 months will be perfect. 

Do you want to jazz up your veggies? First, blanch the veggies you like (broccoli, carrots, fennel, tomatoes, zucchini, or eggplants), and then mix them with your favorite herbs and top with some olive oil, lemon juice, breadcrumbs and finish with plenty of me, 24 months aged, grated on top! Then put everything in the oven until the vegetables are cooked and serve it with some extra virgin olive oil! Delicious! 

Italian Cheese Culinaria 18_Parmigiano-Reggiano
I love having visitors, like the Oldways culinary tour that came to a production facility in Italy!

Something stronger? In Parma, where I was born many centuries ago, they love to use the 24-month version of me as filling of beef, which they call the Rose of Parma! Most people use beef fillet, but you can also make it with chicken or veal fillet. Spread the fillet out flat and then cover it with thin slices of 24 month Parmigiano Reggiano, and thin slices of my friend, Prosciutto di Parma. Add just a touch of black pepper, then roll it up and tie it with strings! Then, put the rolled fillet in a pan to brown with extra virgin olive oil, a bit of salt and garlic, and then roast it with broth or Lambrusco wine. When it is cooked, cut the fillet in slices…I’ll be totally melted inside— heavenly. If you love the Rose of Parma, use your imagination and add me as filling in other recipes! 

On the grill? Yes, please! You can use my rind not just to intensify broth or soup, but right on the grill. You might even consider deep frying me! I’ll be a perfect, crunchy snack for you before lunch or at cocktail time! 

Finally, I’m perfect for dessert. I love being added to gelato, which is a pleasure for me because my heart is sweet and sour. My favorite way to help you to finish a glorious meal is a chunk of me at 36 months, with a drop of Traditional Balsamic vinegar on top. If you don’t have Traditional Balsamic, feel free to use some chestnut honey and I’ll be still happy! 

You’ll find I’m complex, but very easy going and friendly. Use your imagination and remember I always bring good and positive vibes…but only if I’m the true and original one! 

By Alice Rossi, ExploraEmilia 
Parma, Italy 


Cheers in Veneto_Krugman
The author, Alice Rossi, center, on an Oldways tour to the Veneto in Italy. 


*Protected designation of origin (PDO) is the name of a geographical region or specific area that is recognized by official rules to produce certain foods with special characteristics related to location.